by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
In my garden three ways meet,
Thrice the spot is blest;
Hermit-thrush comes there to build,
Carrier-doves to nest.
There broad-armed oaks, the copses’ maze,
The cold sea-wind detain;
Here sultry Summer overstays
When Autumn chills the plain.
Self-sown my stately garden grows;
The winds and wind-blown seed,
Cold April rain and colder snows
My hedges plant and feed.
From mountains far and valleys near
The harvests sown to-day
Thrive in all weathers without fear,—
Wild planters, plant away!
In cities high the careful crowds
Of woe-worn mortals darkling go,
But in these sunny solitudes
My quiet roses blow.
Methought the sky looked scornful down
On all was base in man,
And airy tongues did taunt the town,
‘Achieve our peace who can!’
What need I holier dew
Than Walden’s haunted wave,
Distilled from heaven’s alembic blue,
Steeped in each forest cave?
If Thought unlock her mysteries,
If Friendship on me smile,
I walk in marble galleries,
I talk with kings the while.
How drearily in College hall
The Doctor stretched the hours,
But in each pause we heard the call
Of robins out of doors.
The air is wise, the wind thinks well,
And all through which it blows,
If plants or brain, if egg or shell,
Or bird or biped knows;
And oft at home ‘mid tasks I heed,
I heed how wears the day;
We must not halt while fiercely speed
The spans of life away.
What boots it here of Thebes or Rome
Or lands of Eastern day?
In forests I am still at home
And there I cannot stray.